PICK OF THE WEEK: “Make The Future” (Motion Graphics Explainer Video)

Blake Harris 06.14.2016

At the end of this month, Shell will be hosting a four-day festival of ideas and innovation called “Make The Future.” The event, which will run from June 30 to July 3, promises to provide a rare glimpse into “the future of our cities, our energy and the lives we’ll soon be living.”

In addition to panels of speeches, Make The Future will also feature an exciting and unusual car “race” of sorts, in which more than 200 teams from all over Europe will compete to see who can drive the farthest on one liter of fuel. Needless to say, this festival should appeal to a broad demographic. But even the most appealing events still require strong marketing and messaging, both of which are deftly accomplished in our PICK OF THE WEEK:  a motion graphics explainer video for “Make The Future.”

The man responsible for this explainer video is Pedro Allevato (AKA Sugar Blood) , an award-winning director and motion artist based in the UK. Allevato is a graduate from the Vancouver Film School (where he studied 3D Animation) and holds a BA in Visual Communication from Rio University, in Brazil. Previously, he co-founded the Nucco Brain studio, where he directed and animated some great work for places like ICRC (below left) and LycaMobile (below right). 


Although Allevato’s “Make The Future” spot isn’t 3D animation like the two referenced above, his ability to create sleek, engaging and memorable compositions is still very much on display in his motion graphics explainer video for Shell….

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3 Things We Loved About This Motion Graphics Explainer:

1. An Intro (and Appeal) to Energy

Much like we discussed in last week’s PICK OF THE WEEK (a CGI explainer about food production), energy is one of those topics that we all know is important but may have a hard time connecting with in an emotional way.

Allevato’s explainer addresses this danger right off the bat, by opening with 8 diverse objects that serve as a means to personalize the message and put it into real-life terms:

  • a smartphone
  • an ice cream truck
  • a gas-cooker
  • a refrigerator
  • a robot
  • a hospital
  • a roller-coaster
  • a neon-sign

Not only is this a well-cultivated assortment of diverse items that are likely to appeal to different demographics but–as drawn by Allevato–they feel like they belong in the same universe. There’s a similar sensibility to these disparate designs:

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Creating that visual connection is not only valuable as a way to create a consistent aesthetic but, in doing so, helps tie these individualized and specific things into a larger, more universal message. Which, ultimately, is what “Make The Future” is all about.

2. Empowerment > Panic

In many ways, this video (and the concept behind “Make The Future”) is about anticipating an energy crisis in the not-so-distant future. For example, the explainer video notes that “By the Year 2050, it’s estimated the world will need double the energy we use today.”

Given that tremendous difference between what we have today and what we need tomorrow–and compounded by the environmental concerns that are alluded to midway through the video–one could very easily react to the situation with panic. But instead or resorting to scare tactics and worse-case-scenarios, this explainer video presents a more upbeat and empowered tone. Part of this approach is accomplish directly through the even-keeled voice-over, but a large majority of that tone is accomplished through the motion graphics themselves.

Without ever feeling insincere or cartoony, Allevato’s motion graphics feel grounded yet optimistic. He manages to pull this off by oscillating between moments of focusing on the positive…

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And injecting upbeat elements into what would otherwise be ordinary design. Either through colors, shapes or subtle expression…

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3. The Honesty and Uncertainty of the Ending

As the creator of this motion graphics explainer video, it might be tempting to end by saying something like, “To see how we’ll overcome these problems, come on out to Make The Future!” In a sense, that’s what the goal of this video is (or, if not to demonstrate solution, to bring people out to discuss one). But the danger of ending with an over-promise like that–or even just something overtly enthusiastic–is that, well, it’s just simply not true and viewers can see generally see through that.

So wisely, the explainer video instead ends on a frank and thoughtful note. With a question:

“Will we succeed? It’s up to everyone to decide.”

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That places the ball in our court and, importantly, does so in a way that might actually motivate us to do something with it.

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